Henley NEWS On-line

Reporting Each Week on Events In and Around
Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire, England


Masthead picture - Claverdon Village Green

Edition 192 - 31st January 2008
Warwickshire Village Ventures
Competition Winner 2007
Every Thursday

Fire Fighters Dinner Raises £3,400

Special Report by Dale le Vack

One of Alcester’s longest serving retained firefighters, Mark Walker, received a standing ovation from the people of Henley on Friday after telling them how the lives of his colleagues had been changed forever in the Atherstone fire tragedy of 2nd November.

He told the guests at a dinner: “The only thing that got the families and the rest of us through this ordeal was the support we received from our colleagues, the community, and our country. There were the lads at Stratford station, who were also going through this trauma, Bidford lads, who were refusing to leave the fire ground, Henley lads, who came to visit us on station – along with many others throughout the county, too many to mention, to show their grief and solidarity. It was seeing these colleagues turning up at our station with flowers, and coming in to see us, grown men learning for the first, in some cases, how to hug people and cry. Somehow, we and they felt a little better for just being together, all feeling ‘there but for the grace of God, go I.’”

Fireman's Dinner

Mark Walker and his wife Maggie with the High Bailiff Ray Holding

Mr Walker and his wife Maggie were guests of honour at a special dinner, organised by Henley Court Leet, to raise money for the Warwickshire Firefighters’ Families Fund. It was attended by nearly 60 people. Mr Richard Butler, Henley’s Watch Manager, and Hannah Lodder of Worcestershire Fire and Rescue Service, were also guests at the dinner, which was held at the home of Mr and Mrs Brian Westmacott. A sum in the region of £3,400 was raised on the evening through tickets, an auction, and a raffle.

Mr Walker, who earlier in the day had attended the memorial service in Coventry Cathedral, said: “Being in the fire service is like being in a big family – at Alcester we have had up to 12 firefighters at any one time. We all get to know each other – wives, partners, kids, parents, and even the family pets. How little did we realise how much this family was going to be called upon to pull together and support each other.

Fiirefighters Dinner“On Friday 2nd November our lives and many others, were to change forever. You can call it fate, but 45 minutes before my colleagues were to turn out I had taken myself off call. Late that evening, having gone to bed, our phone rang. It was a call from one of the lads at the station. Within two minutes – quicker than for any turn out, we were both dressed – in the car – and down to the station. It was at this point we entered what was to feel like a bad dream, a nightmare that lasted many weeks.”

It had seemed, said Mr Walker, just a “two penny-ha-penny job” but it resulted in the loss of lives of Ian Reid and John Averis from Stratford, and two of Alcester’s youngest firefighters, Ashley Stephens and Darren Yates Badley." He continued: “We stayed at the station all night waiting for news. We needed to hear that they had got the boys out of the building. Then we heard that all personnel had been called out, because the building was unsafe. We didn’t want to hear that news. At 5am we went home. By 7am you know you won’t sleep, so several cups of tea and a shower later we were on our way back to the station. Little did any of us know that the next four days were going to be so harrowing. We were thinking every day – ‘they will get them out today’. But they didn’t.”

Mr Walker said that the solidarity shown by firefighters expressed itself both nationally and internationally. “We even had 20 firefighters from Holland turn up. They lined up in front of the Fire Station for a minute’s silence. All the officers were in uniform, standing in the dark, with just the lights from the station shining on them. It was a sight we’ll never forget.”

AtherstoneHe said the Dutch firefighters had demanded to be brought over from the Fire Service College at Moreton-in-Marsh to show their respect and present their floral tribute. It illustrated there were no boundaries to the “family of the fire service.”“It was during their visit that the phone rang. Myself and colleagues at Alcester Station were called to Atherstone. It was Tuesday evening 6th November around 9.30pm. We had bestowed upon us the greatest privilege and honour - of bringing the remaining three boys, John, Ashleigh, and Darren, out of that building, to where the guard of honour awaited them.”

Retained fire fighter Mark Walker, who has 18 years service with Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service, reminded the guests of the wide range of 24-hour fire and rescue activities – from firefighting, to road accidents, flooding, freak weather, and livestock incidents - carried out by firefighters. He said: “What other service do you have that you know will be there for you no matter what, at short notice, in very little time, and without question? You have that service here in Henley. Hang on to it - don’t let anyone take that away from this community.”

Mark and Maggie Walker were thanked by Ray Holding, the High Bailiff of Henley, for coming to the town, thus enabling the people to express their solidarity with the men and women of the fire and rescue service. He added: “All the tickets were sold out for this occasion only hours after they went on sale.”

The fire at the vegetable packing house at Atherstone was the worst loss of life in a single incident for the UK Fire Service since 1973 and resulted in the death of four firefighters. The blaze started at around 5:30 pm on Friday 2nd November in an area used for storing packing materials and soon spread.

The first (local) firefighting teams got into difficulties soon after arriving on the scene and, as the fire gained in intensity, at some stage there was a partial collapse of the entire building. The incident was one of the largest to affect Warwickshire in recent years and resulted in over 200 firefighters tackling the fire from Warwickshire, Hereford and Worcester and West Midlands fire brigades. Over 26 appliances attended the scene together with numerous other emergency service and search and rescue vehicles which included specialist pumping equipment which was used to extract water from the river Stour.

The fire took over 24 hours to extinguish and the fire service used over 7 million litres of water in tackling it. The bodies of the firefighters who died were recovered from the scene on Tuesday 6th November, leaving a community numb with shock and profound grief.

Fiirefighters Dinner
Fiirefighters Dinner
Fiirefighters Dinner
Fiirefighters Dinner
Fiirefighters Dinner
Firemans Dinner

A lively auction of high quality donated items was conducted by Lindsey Shaw, chairman of Claverdon Rugby Club, and a total of £1,685 was raised from competitive bidding by the guests to go towards the proceeds on the night.

The auctioned items included:

  • A day at Ardencote Manor Leisure Club for a family of four, donated by Ardencote.
  • An Anthony Worrall Thompson Gas Barbecue, donated by Richard Gray.
  • A day for six people on the narrowboat "Yellow Rose", donated by Mark and Maggie Walker, the boat's owners, which was sold twice.
  • A return trip of the steam train "The Shakespeare Express" donated by Vintage Trains Ltd
  • A day's golf for four at Henley Golf and Country Club,, donated by the Club.
  • A voucher for a night in the four poster suite at the White Swan Hotel, donated by the Hotel.
  • A limited edition print of a painting of "Striding Edge" in the Lake District, painted and donated by Sue Westmacott.
  • A magnum of Moet champagne, donated by David Lodder.

Claverdon Community Shop Opens

Claverdon Shop

Lord Jones of Birmingham formally opens the Claverdon Community Shop

Claverdon Shop OpensA Grand Opening Ceremony took place last Saturday morning for the Claverdon Community Shop. Guest of Honour performing the official ribbon cutting was Lord Digby Jones of Birmingham.

Lord Jones is currently Minister of State for BERR (Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform) as well as at the Foreign Office where he is responsible for Trade & Investment. He was Director-General of the CBI from 2000 until 2006.

So how did the small village of Claverdon manage to attract such an eminent celebrity to perform the opening ceremony the day after he was attending a luncheon with Bill Gates? Well Lord Jones actually lives in the NEIGHBOURHOOD and in fact his wife is counted among the many local volunteers who contribute their time and energy to working at this valuable local resource for the community. In Lord Jones’ speech he pointed out that he spent up to 10 years helping behind the counter at his parents shop in Barnt Green. He is therefore no stranger to shop life.

Claverdon used to have a commercially operated village shop located at the junction of the road from Shrewley and the A4189 but it closed down over 12 months ago. The facility to make daily purchases of fresh milk, bread and newspapers amongst other things was greatly missed and a groundswell of opinion gave rise to the local council becoming involved. Entrepreneurial ability was provided by several local businessmen & accountants and the plans were made public to assess the level of voluntary support that the operation might receive.

The support from local residents was over-whelming and together with initial financial support from Claverdon residents and the parish council to fund initial stocks, the shop was opened for a trial period last autumn. The results of that trial showed that the shop was already turning a profit. Helped of course by having volunteer labour but it is much more than just a shop selling daily essentials.

The Community Shop is rapidly becoming the hub for Claverdon, a meeting place each day for residents, exchanging gossip, catching up with friends and making new friends. The vicar of Claverdon – The Rev Canon Lawrence Mortimer sees it as another “church in the community”. It is a vital ingredient that will contribute so much to rural well-being in the village of Claverdon.

Additional pictures of this event by Clive Hanley can be viewed at:

Clive Hanley - Claverdon Correspondent Reporting & Photos

Photos © 2008 Clive Hanley

Rotary Club Holds an Italian Night

Henley-in-Arden Rotary Club held an Italian Evening at La Dolce Pizza in the High Street on Monday 28th. The guest speaker was Cav-Commendatore Franco Vegnuti, who was the Italian Vice-Consul in Birmingham for over twenty years. During this period he founded the Anglo-Italian Society and he is now its Life President.

Commendatore Vegnuti told a packed restaurant about the history of Italy from the Etrurians (Tuscany to-day) to the foundation of the Republic in 1946.

La Dolce Pizza provided a typical Sicilian feast for the event with Italian beer and wine.

View Slideshow of this event

The Rotary Club will be holding its next New Members Evening on 3rd March. If you would like to find out more about Rotary Membership, email and a member of the Club will contact you.

Have you registered for the "Henley Charity Walk"?

May 4th - Walk to the 'Party by the Canal at Lowsonford' - Barbecue & Jazz Band

Charity Walk 2008 Website and Registration

Council Tax Payers Meet The District Council

Irene RobinsonOn Monday 14th, I attended the meeting at Elizabeth House hosted by the Chairman, Les Topham and the Chief Executive and the Treasurer of the District Council.

The meeting started with a rundown of the District Council's achievements over the year of 2007. It is a mammoth task of balancing the books and trying to be fair to everyone. For instance, the free bus passes for OAP's cost in the region of £385,000, underlining my belief that nothing is free. The £250 grant to flood victims was paid for by Government and was not means tested. Two things stand out in my memory,

  1. The council does not fund special groups of people, therefore, everyone is treated the same.
  2. There are about 2,000 migrants in the district, all of whom work and none of them draw benefits.

My purpose of attending the meeting was to raise the unfair situation of people who do not live in Henley but work in the shops and restaurants. Because of the lack of transport, they have to use cars and park near their place of work. Although not parked inappropriately, many have received several parking tickets. The fact that they work in Henley does not give them the right of appeal. The wrong is that the terrible parking opposite the Guild Hall seems to be ignored, allowing the delivery lorries lorries which are a must. I have never seen a ticket given for parking in that area. Let's hope the problem is followed up as was promised by the executive.

These meetings have been held for many years and it was remarked on that my face was the only new face.

I shall certainly go again. It was certainly an eye-opener and I came away feeling re-assured that our District Council gives of its best.

Irene Robinson - Senior Correspondent

"Collections" Reopens

CollectionsAt long last after the flooding in July 2007, Collections of Henley is ready to open on February 14th 2008.

We look forward to seeing all our customers again and may we take this opportunity to thank you all for all your support and letters of encouragement. They have been very welcome in these frustrating times.

We have been using our time usefully in sourcing lots of new ranges for you. Also, of course, we will still have some of your favourites.

Please visit our new web site and you will be able to get an idea of what is in store for you. If you visit the site you can Email us and we can keep you up to date with new promotions and offers.

If you would like to join us for the opening, the dates are:

14th February 10:30am _ 6:00pm
15th February 10:30am – 6:00pm
16th February 10:00am – 5:00pm

Finally may we wish you a Happy New Year and best wishes to all the other residents / businesses that were also affected on July 20th, we hope you are all getting back to normal.

Warmest Regards

Barbara and Sue

Henley and Beaudesert Society.

CollectionsWhat is a brogger?

This was the question that Anne Donelly promised to answer in her talk entitled “John Shakespeare, Glover and Brogger”. The talk about William Shakepeare’s father, with slides illustrating features of 16th and 17th century gloves and glove making, entertained the assembled members of the society at the meeting on 24th Jan. The burning question was however not answered until about ¾ way through the talk and so it will not be answered in this article yet.

Ann releated the various historical references to John beginning with the first in 1552, a complaint that he had made a stinquinarium (apparently a dung heap). Between this first mention and the 1590s his fortunes rose and fell and then recovered a little. He was one of 3 glovers in Stratford and lived in Henley St. His son’s plays contain various refernces to leather and gloves and when in London William lived in the area where glove making was the trade; possibly finding accomodation through acquaintances of his frather.

Ann briefly described the complex process of leather making, involving about a dozen stages including use of egg yolks, alum, urine and dog poo, taking one year in all. Tudor gloves it seems were all one size, but from about 1570 varied in style; everybody had a pair. Finger length was exaggerated and decorative cuffs abounded. The style of the gloves that apprentices could wear was laid down but frequently ignored.

By 1572 John Shakespeare was involved in brogging - the illegal trading of wool. Various court cases are recorded. It appears that to pay fines he had to sell and mortgage some of the farms he owned. He avoided attending church for fear of levy by bailiffs.

After questions from the audience, Molly Sutton gave the vote of thanks. Tea or coffee with biscuits and chat followed. Next meeting is on 21st Feb. Andrew Lounds is going to tell us about Lunatic Astronomy. If this talk about the Lunar Society is only half as good as the one he did on “Titanic” it should not be missed.

John Stott

As Spring Returns

Many of the residents in the High Street have again put out plant pots and small trees as spring is "just around the corner". The first cuckoo has been heard. What a pity that the vandals have returned as well!


Chance encounter in the Bahamas

BahamasDavid and Elaine Hadley of High Street, Henley-in-Arden are holidaying on Grand Bahama and were introduced by mutual friends to Mrs Rita Coulson, also of High Street, Henley-in-Arden at a Burns Supper on the island.

The evening was absolutely authentic although the haggis was piped in by recorded music due to a marked lack of pipers in the Bahamas. One might of thought that haggis would not be in plentiful supply either but the hosts had brought some back from a recent trip to Scotland and served them with the traditional “neeps and tatties”.

Having had a wonderful evening the guests departed to the strains of “Will ye no come back again?”

We most certainly will!

Conservatives Newsletter

ConservativesThe contents of the January 2008 issue of 'intouch', the Conservative newsletter, are a good example of the diversity of work that your Councillors undertake in the Parish, District and County Councils.

Yet, this diversity has a common theme and a unity of purpose i.e. to improve the quality of life of all residents in Henley in Arden, Beaudesert and Wootton Wawen.

In the ‘In Touch’ this month:

  • Henley’s Market Plans Withdrawn
  • New Greener Refuse Collection
  • Promoting Henley in Arden for Tourism
  • Henley Rail Station
  • Community Services - Transport
  • Parliamentary Etiquette
  • Did you know? - The business of Warwickshire County Council
  • Car journeys to Stratford
  • Report faulty street lighting
  • Ragwort – a dangerous weed
  • The ‘young’ can make a BIG difference.

George Matheou reporting

Download a copy of this edition of 'intouch'

Theatre Visit Invitation by Rotary

Priory TheatreThe Rotary Club of Henley in Arden has organised its next Annual Theatre trip to the Priory Theatre, Kenilworth on the evening of Monday, 11th February 2008 commencing at 7.30pm.
This is a private showing of a production called 'FEEL GOOD' by Alistair Beaton.
This is a new and outrageously funny satire on modern politics and the fine art of spin. The play, part farce, part biting satire is set in the plush seaside hotel of a party conference. Sinister and obsessive press secretary Eddie and young speech-writer aide are trying to finalise the PM's speech. Scandal is revealed and hilarious confusion  then abounds.
Tickets are £12.50 each. Price to include post show buffet.
All profits to Rotary Club Charities.
For your ticket requirements please contact:

Mike Redman on 01564 792491  or e-mail
David Brain on 01926 402404 or e-mail

Every one welcome.

The Manor of Henley-in-Arden Court Leet and Court Baron


Court Circular

Published by Authority of the High Bailiff

The Court Leet is obviously delighted with the outcome of the benefit dinner for the Warwickshire Firemen’s Families Fund, reported in this edition of Henley NEWS On-line. We are particularly grateful to all those who generously joined in the auction, helping to raise the amount raised to a (Stop Press!) total of £3,500, which will go to the Fund this week. Thanks are due also to those individuals and organisations who donated some splendid prizes.

Above all, the Court would wish to record its thanks to Sue and Brian Westmacott (Sue Dalby Catering) for creating the opportunity for the event in the first place and for making it such a memorable occasion.

News of the Guild Hall: the post-flood damage repairs to the flooring and wiring of the building are now completed and moves towards the re-instatement of the Henley Library in their “normal” home are proceeding. More news soon: it is hoped that we may have a colourful re-opening ceremony when the time comes.

Ray Holding - High Bailiff

Thinking of becoming a Parish Councillor

Election of 12 Councillors on 1st May 2008 - Information on the Henley Gateway website

To Read Previous Editions Back to 29th October 2004       Click Here

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about Henley-in-Arden

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Claverdon RFC

Bredon Star 24 – Claverdon 0

Claverdon RFC

Forward John Glover tries to break for Claverdon

Claverdon arrived for the match on a high today after beating Bredon at Ossetts Hole Lane a few weeks back. The still very young team has just started to bond and the team spirit in the dressing room and in warm-up was a clear indication that Claverdon are starting to get back the spirit that has clearly been missing for a while.

Claverdon started the game with a long kick from Pete Richards. Bredon, after a good take, immediately switched on the aggression. They were quick to close down Claverdon and powered over the first ruck to keep possession. The Bredon back-row was extremely strong and slowly moved the ball toward the Claverdon try line. Claverdon’s defence held strong however and although Bredon moved the ball well Claverdon withstood the constant attack with some big tackles by Olly Thorndale, Matt Warren and Paul Carruthers. After a 20 minute bombardment Bredon won a penalty and opted to kick for goal, it was easily converted and Bredon lead 3-0. Claverdon didn’t let their heads drop however and after holding Bredon for so long, took the chance to go on the attack themselves. The pack moved the ball well and then Nealon shipped the ball out to the backs who got there chance to run. Pete released Johnson and Horsfall whose pace took Claverdon to the 5 metre line. The Clav forwards were quick to the breakdown and secured the ball well. Pete Richards then found himself in the pocket and Nealon passed the ball out to attempt a drop goal which unfortunately fell short. Bredon came back on the attack and ended up kicking to touch. The Claverdon line-out was drilled today and some strong jumping by Charlie Robbins saw Claverdon with ball in hand again and the forwards rucked and mauled their way toward the Bredon try line. Some good defence by Bredon forced a knock-on and Bredon won a scrum close to their 22. The scrums had held well all day and the Clav forwards were very switched on. Bredon won the ball but Olly Thorndale pounced on the scrum-half as he picked the ball up and Claverdon turned the ball over. Nealon shipped the ball out and some quick hands saw an overlap appear and as Claverdon looked like they could take the lead Bredon intercepted the last pass and ran a try in from their own 22, this was converted with ease and Bredon lead 10-0. Clav, feeling a little hard done by after a great run of play then pulled together as a team and didn’t let this affect their game and immediately shifted up a gear and attacked the Bredon line with a renewed passion. Some great ball carrying by Matt Warren and John Glover saw Claverdon edging nearer the try line. Clav used their speedy backs well, twice shipping the ball to opposite sides of the pitch until the forwards finished the move and crossed the try line, only to be held up by an exceptional defence. Just before half time and Claverdon’s experienced scrum-half Nealon took a massive hit which saw him unconscious for a few minutes and could no-longer play a part in the game. Wiggy came in at scrum-half, Dan Mullinueux shifted to full-back and Dave Austin came on to cover the wing.

Half Time

The Second half started with Bredon kicking deep into Claverdon’s half and the Clav forwards continuing where they left off, with strong ball carrying and good rucking and mauling. The Pack eased their way deep into the Bredon Half with constant pressure in the scrums and some strong line-out work, this was turning into a well-matched game. After a good 10 minutes of hard forwards work from both teams mid-pitch Claverdon made two changes, Matt Joyce replaced Matt Warren (exceptionally strong all game) and Chris Edsall came on for Paul Carruthers. Matt and Chris wasted no time in making an impact on the game and both got ball in hand and started making progress up field. Wiggy shipped the ball out to Pete and he immediately send the centres running, a good dummy switch and Johnson crashed through the Bredon line only to be stopped by the Bredons forwards. Pete was quick to react and shipped the ball quickly through the hands of the backs to Austy on the wing who looked glad to get ball in hand and used his strength and pace to break through 3 tackles and draw the Bredon Pack across. With the overlap created Claverdon shipped the ball wide and made great yards into the Bredon half only to be stopped just short of the line by some strong defence. A penalty here was quickly taken by Wiggy and he kicked a high ball to the wing for Austy to chase down. An awkward bounce saw Bredon only just manage to touch the ball down behind the line before Austy powered over in chase. Bredon then switched up a gear and some great hands and offloading by their back row saw them score a powerful try putting them further into the lead. A collision of heads saw Olly Thorndale off with a blood injury and the return of Matt Warren who immediately impressed with tackle after tackle. A pure mistake by Claverdon under extreme pressure saw Brendon’s third try which they again converted. Claverdon continued to play hard and not give up and again put pressure on the Bredon defence but unfortunately didn’t manage to score.

Claverdon were very unfortunate not to get anything out of this game and they showed great strength to not let their heads drop against a team that was clearly well drilled. Considering Bredon were playing in the league above last season, only adds strength to the statement that Claverdon have exciting times ahead with a team that will take the club into what can only be a prosperous future.

Man of the Match: Matt Warren

Dave Austin Reporting
Will Barnes Photographer

John Garner's Business Column

The Employment Contract

John GarnerI've recently become even more alarmed than usual to find that some employers have not provided a proper Contract of Employment for their employees. I've referred to this in earlier articles, some time ago, but I make no apology for bringing the matter up again as it really is very important.

This contract is the key document that will be considered in any dispute with an employee. The most common reasons why disputes get taken to tribunal are to do with the Contract of Employment – or often the lack of one. Some employers fail to write a proper letter of offer as well – that really is asking for trouble.

A contract of employment exists as soon as an employee starts work. Starting work proves that he or she accepts the terms and conditions offered by the employer in the offer letter. Both employer and employee are bound by the terms offered and thereby accepted.

Most employment contracts need not be in writing to be legally valid but employees are legally entitled to be given a written statement setting out the main particulars of their employment within 2 months of starting that employment.

This simply formalises their position with you: in short it states:

•their job title
•to whom they report on a daily basis
•their hours of work
•their place of work
•holiday entitlement
•sick pay rules
•the internal procedure they should follow if they have a grievance.

All pretty reasonable, but if you don’t provide this and an employee has a dispute with you, you could be liable for considerable damages. If properly written the contract will ensure that no disputes arise due to a lack of clarity or differences of opinion about the employee's terms and conditions. If you do get into a dispute a tribunal will take a dim view if you can’t show there is a written contract with the employee.

It's easy to write an appropriate contract even if you've never written one before. There are a number of templates available that you can use. You only have to fill in the gaps to suit your own company. If you find you don't know how to fill in some of these gaps then it's probably because you haven't thought through all the details of the employment in question. You really must do this before you take that person on.

One of the best websites to look at is ; on this site is an interactive tool you can use to create employment contracts for your own business

It's also good practice to compile a staff handbook, setting out the rights and duties of both employer and employee and the employer's policies and procedures in relation to all personnel matters, including disciplinary and grievance procedures.

Next time we'll look at the Psychological Contract (what?) that exists between employer and employee. Lots of fun there……..

John Garner

Grumpy Old Man Comments

GOMSat Nav friend or foe?

Having recently acquired a sat nav system for the journey you don’t know, I have noticed a few problems as well as the obvious benefits.

The main benefit is you actually know where you are going, just as long as you programme the destination correctly. Yes I have been following the little arrow along the green road and ended up in completely the wrong place. My fault not the sat nav system.

But I happened to be driving along an unknown A road in the dark while being tired. Up cropped the little signs on the side of the road, beware speed cameras. That meant I spent much of the time studying the little screen for the speed camera warning rather than concentrating on the road. Now what I should have done is watch the road and the speed, but no the little display was more intriguing.

So what’s the solution, less toys for the boys ? or more common sense? I’ll leave that decision to you.

Grumpy Old Man

The Nigel Hastilow Column

Auf wiedersehen, Pete revisited

Nigel HastilowWhen he woke up this morning (Friday, January 25) Peter Hain would have been about to leap out of bed to get on with the busy day ahead of him. Then he’d have remembered. He could be forgiven for wanting to bury his head under the pillow because this morning there was no pressing reason for him to rush off to work. Gone are the flunkies holding open doors for him and smiling at their Minister. Gone is the chauffeur-driven car. Gone is the private office with, as John Prescott knows, hot and cold running secretaries.

Yesterday morning Peter Hain was still a defeated but worthy contender for the deputy leadership of the Labour Party. He was a Secretary of State with responsibility not just for Work and Pensions but for Wales as well. Overnight he has shrunk to being an also-ran backbench MP who’s past his sell-by date and run out of friends. As one of his many critics muttered: “At least he’ll have time to get a genuine sun-tan now.” It won’t seem like much consolation. His hectic diary full of appointments is suddenly empty. The day stretches ahead devoid of urgent meetings, secret briefings and vital discussions on great affairs of state.

He won’t be consulted by the Prime Minister or sit around the Cabinet table. He won’t have piles of documents to wade through, decisions to make or policies to devise. Worst of all, he isn’t important any more. You don’t put up to be a political leader without having an ego the size of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Today that ego will be beaten, battered and bruised. Peter Hain woke up to a new world where all he’s got to look forward to is a police investigation. It was, of course, the possibility of the boys in blue knocking on his door which finally made him realise clinging onto office was no longer an option. Even when it became apparent that the Electoral Commission had asked for a police inquiry into his overlooked campaign donations, he may have argued that he could cling on. After all, he may have said, didn’t Tony Blair stay in power all through the police investigations into the cash-for-honours scandal?

Alas for Mr Hain, his boss was not Tony Blair but Gordon Brown. And if he’d had any sensitivity at all, he would have realised the writing was on the wall as soon as Gordon described the failure to declare £103,000 of donations an “an incompetence”. And it is, indeed, difficult to understand how even someone as exalted as Peter Hain could simply forget to mention such a large sum in donations when he was reporting to the authorities the money he’d received to fund his failed deputy leadership campaign. It may well be, as some people claim, that any incompetence was the fault of his staff and supporters, not the Minister’s.

It may even be that his non-thinking “think tank” has a perfectly innocent explanation and was not a front to launder money from donors who wanted to remain anonymous. Even so, a contender for one of the most influential positions in our governing party was unable to comply with the anti-sleaze laws his own Government introduced during a previous bout of embarrassing disclosures. That is a resigning offence if ever there was one.

In November, Peter Hain called for my resignation as a Tory candidate after I said Enoch Powell was right to warn that mass immigration would change the country dramatically. I was happy to return the compliment here last week. I said at the time I was looking forward to his demise. It’s difficult now not to enjoy the moment, especially as we are witnessing the departure of such a hypocrite.

Peter Hain made a career out of righteous indignation. Originally it was as an anti-apartheid activist, digging up cricket pitches and stopping rugby tours. When he became an MP, he was still a holier-than-thou firebrand. Conservative MP Neil Hamilton was hounded out as a Minister for failing to register a fee of £667. Among those snapping at his heels was the ever-virtuous Mr Hain. As the formidable Christine Hamilton says, if her husband had to resign because he “forgot” about £667 then Mr Hain should commit hari-kari.

He won’t be doing that. Instead, he will “fight to clear my name”. But the damage has been done.

Under Tony Blair, sleazy ministers got a second chance. David Blunkett, Peter Mandelson and John Prescott can all testify to that. If he’s got any sense, Gordon Brown won’t be so indulgent. You almost feel sorry for our Prime Minister, now he’s knee deep in scandals left over from the Blair years. There won’t be any way back for Peter Hain even if he does somehow clear his name. Instead, he may like to spend some of his spare time thinking about this quote:

“All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and of human affairs.”

And who said that? Why, Enoch Powell of course.

Nigel Hastilow

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Prince CharlesWell done Prince Charles.

This picture shows Prince Charles speaking at the world future energy summit in Abu Dhabi. What’s interesting is that he isn’t in Abu Dhabi at all. Its just a holographic image that is speaking. Holograms are three dimensional images that look real in the sense that viewers see realistically different views as they change their viewing position. By being beamed in this way, some 15 tons of CO2 were saved by not flying to be there in person (presumably with entourage). A nice example of using technology to avoid emissions. Pity we can’t all beam ourselves from A to B.

John Stott

Alerts from Trading Standards

And always remember - if it looks too good to be true, it probably is!

Tradind StandardSimon Cripwell
Senior Information Officer
Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards Service

The Henley-in-Arden Notice Board

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Memorial Hall
Spring Programme
Henley Society
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Henley Diary Dates

Articles and news stories for Henley NEWS on-line should be sent to the at any time. Future diary dates should be notified to Diane Bayley at 6 Nightingale Close, Great Alne, B49 6PE. Email:

FREE 4-day start-up workshop to help develop your business idea are being held in Henley, 9.30 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. on 21st January, 4th February, 25th February and 10th March. For more information call 02476 236001 or email

A simple Bring and Share Supper in the Church Hall at 7.00 p.m. Raffle in aid of the CORD Lent Appeal. Do come along to this enjoyable fellowship event – just sign up at the back of St. John’s as soon as possible. Soft drinks only provided – bring your own alcohol! Ring Daphne Jones for further details – 01926 843515.

24th February to 9th March. Look out for promotional events and Traidcraft stall and make a point of asking for Fairtrade goods locally.

Lent and Easter are early this year, so February 5th, Shrove Tuesday, is the occasion for our Pancake Supper at 7.30 p.m. All will be welcome, but please let us know if you will be joining us so that we can cater accordingly.
Sunday Services, all at 11.00 a.m. are: 3rd – Mr. Barry Sutcliffe; 10th – Revd. Graham Spicer (Sacrament); 17th – Mrs. Elizabeth Harrison; 24th – Mr. Brian Atkins.

Will welcome visitors to join us in the Memorial Hall at 7.30 p.m. on Tuesday 5th February to hear Mrs. M. Canning tell us about “An Unusual Job for a Lady!”. We are all wondering what the job can possibly be!

Friday 8th February at 7.00p.m. in the Baptist Church Hall. All are welcome to attend.

12th February 7.30 p.m. at the Memorial Hall. Jayne King will present “Fragrance and Fashion”. Competition “Love is in the Air”.

Rosemary Morris is the speaker in the Baptist Church Hall from 7.45 p.m. on Tuesday 19th February and we look forward to seeing her slides of “The Shetlands”. Visitors are welcome for only £1!

Thursday 21st February – Andrew Lounds of The Lunar Society will be giving a talk entitled “Lunatick Astronomy”. 8.00 p.m. in the Baptist Church Hall.

Tuesday 26th February 7.45 p.m. Ullenhall Village Hall. Hilary Twigg will be telling us the “Easy Rules of Pruning”. Competition: Cactus or succulent in max. 4” pot. Visitors and new members are welcome.

Saturday 1st March will be a dinner cooked by Sue Dalby which will include a 9 bird roast as the main course, starter, pudding and coffee followed by an entertainment by Caroline Bone of Grey Gables, Ambridge. Tickets £20.00. Bar and raffle. Lounge suits and party frocks. Tickets from Marijana or Duncan Bainbridge 794987 (eve) or 793539 (day).
Second event is the annual Jazz in the Garden in the summer, date to be fixed.

On Saturday 22nd March the Bulava Chorus, an exceptional Ukrainian Choir, will be performing in Henley High School at 7.30 p.m. Tickets £15 (including supper) can be obtained from Sue Bridgewater (793633) or Marijana Bainbridge (794987). An opportunity not to be missed!

Sunday 4th May from Warwickshire College to Lowsonford and back. 'Party by the Canal' at Lowsonford with Jazz Band and Barbecue. Rotary invites teams from Henley's Organisations, Pubs and Clubs to enter. 75% of a walker's fundraising to their nominated charity and 25% to Rotary Charities. Further details from John Latham 0121 627 5058.

Saturday and Sunday 21st and 22nd June 2008. After a very successful day in 2006, Henley’s Hidden Gardens will again be open, on this occasion over two days. If you would like your garden to be included, please contact Sue Bridgewater (793633) or Marijana Bainbridge (794987).

Open to members (juniors and adults) of any standard. Full time coach. 7 courts open throughout the year mean that there is always a court available. No need to book. Club and American Tournaments held during summer months. League matches summer and winter. For details of membership please contact Judith Mathias 01564 792378
Evergreen ClubMeetings are held on the first Wednesday of the month in the Parish Hall, Beaudesert Lane at 2.15 p.m. The Club has around 80 members and organises a varied programme together with various outings. If you are interested in joining, please contact Gordon Trinder.

Arc you interested in gardening and flowers or just spending a pleasant evening watching a demonstrator arrange foliage and flowers? We meet on the second Tuesday each month at 7.30pm in The Memorial Hal, Station Road, Henley-in-Arden so why not come along and see for yourself. Visitors are always welcome £3.00. You do not have to be an active flower arranger to enjoy watching our demonstrators but if you do feel you would like to 'have a go' we hold occasional workshops. For further information, Contact Secretary - Annette Walker - 01564 792837

Meets Friday and Sunday from September to May in the Memorial Hall. Details contact Alan Barber on 793320. Thursday evenings from 7.30 –9.30 pm at Henley Community Primary School. Details please ring Pauline Barber on 793320.
Henley Cricket Club fields two teams in the Cotswold Hills League on a Saturday, and two teams in friendly fixtures on Sundays, from mid-April to mid-September. We are always on the lookout for new players, irrespective of age or ability. Anyone interested in joining our club should contact Kevin O'Brien on 01564-794903.
meets on Monday evenings from April to September at 6.30pm and plays until it is dark. The club is situated next to the Tennis Courts at the Sports and Social club ground on the A34 just outside Henley. The Club welcome new members, whether beginners or established players. For further information contact John Townson 01564 792407.
There are still vacancies in some areas of Henley-in-Arden for NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH Coordinators. If you are aware that  you are not covered in your area or are willing to be a coordinator. Please contact Annette Walker on 792837
Holds its monthly lunchtime meeting on third Thursday of each month from 11.30am to 2.15pm at the Henley Golf Club. There is a one hour networking session followed by a quality lunch and a informative speaker on a business topic. Full details at
Meets at the Golf Club on Monday evenings at 7pm.
New members are always welcome.
Please call: Robin Freeman on 01789 765411 or email

The Claverdon based charity now has capacity to give more help to local youth initiatives. If you have a youth project (or even just an idea for one) and would appreciate some professional help with strategic planning, financial matters, marketing or fundraising then please contact for further information.

Plays Duplicate Bridge of intermediate standard on Tuesday evenings at the the White Swan Hotel and usually find time for a tipple, which may or may not improve our play!!. Play commences at 7.15 promptly. There are normally 5 - 8 tables and the club does not issue master points.
For further information please contact the Secretary - Christine Whitehouse on 01564 792993.

Saturday 26th January, 10.30 a.m. – 12 noon in Church Hall, Beaudesert Lane in aid of St. Basil’s Centre for Young Homeless in Birmingham.

Thursday 24th January, 8.00 p.m. in the Baptist Church Hall. “John Shakespeare, Glover and Brogger” by Ann Donnelly. Visitors and new members welcome.

FREE 4-day start-up workshop to help develop your business idea are being held in Henley, 9.30 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. on 21st January, 4th February, 25th February and 10th March. For more information call 02476 236001 or email

Henley folk would probably prefer not to be reminded about 20th July – suffice to say that the Tanworth Singers’ G & S concert on that day was cancelled and replaced by one in October. The three concerts that were performed made a profit of £2,600. £1,300 has been sent to the Warwick Hospital New Children’s Unit fund and £1,300 has gone to Tanworth Village Hall. My thanks to the singers from Henley and audience alike for their continuing support. Look out for “Pirates” in July 2008!

Saturday, 22 March 2008 – The Guild Hall Garden Committee are presenting a concert by the Bulava Chorus, an exceptional Ukrainian Choir.  This will be held in Henley High School and will include supper.   Tickets are £15 each and can be obtained from Sue Bridgewater (793633) or Marijana Bainbridge (794987).

Sunday 4th May from Warwickshire College to Lowsonford and back. 'Party by the Canal' at Lowsonford with Jazz Band and Barbecue. Rotary invites teams from Henley's Organisations, Pubs and Clubs to enter. 75% of a walker's fundraising to their nominated charity and 25% to Rotary Charities. Further details from John Latham 0121 627 5058.

From our own Correspondents

Henley NewsHenley NEWS on-line is looking for additional correspondents to send in stories and pictures. Why don't you become one of our correspondents and send in stories about your area, your club, your school or events you have witnessed. Please always try to include a photo in jpg or png format. Letters, articles, pictures to the Editor are always welcome. Please do not use the following file formats 'Publisher" or 'Serif'. 'Microsoft Word' is the preferred format. Please send to

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Henley Diary
Flower Club Annette Walker
PlanningMike Faulkner
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Primary School Elaine Field
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ClaverdonClive Hanley
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